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HOW TO REQUEST A VACCINE EXEMPTION IN OHIO

The public health crisis over the past couple years has facilitated conversation over federal, state, and private vaccine mandates. Many individuals, for personal, religious, medical and/or political reasons, have challenged whether these mandates are legal. While vaccine mandates are legal and Constitutional, so is the option to request an exemption. An experienced Ohio vaccine attorney can help you apply for a vaccine exemption for yourself and/or your child.

ARE VACCINE MANDATES LEGAL?

This is not the first time in history that vaccine mandates have been challenged. In 1901, when a smallpox epidemic swept through Massachusetts, state law allowed individual cities to require residents to be vaccinated. Cambridge adopted an ordinance requiring all adults to receive the regulated smallpox vaccine, subject to a $5 fine. In 1902, Pastor Henning Jackson challenged that ordinance. Jackson suggested that he and his son had been injured by a previous vaccine, declined to get vaccinated again, and refused to pay the fine. He argued that the “compulsion to introduce disease into a healthy system is a violation of liberty.” The state courts, however, rejected his claim. So, he took his case to the Supreme Court.

In 1905, the Supreme Court also rejected his claim. Justice John Marshall Harlan argued that states had the power to regulate vaccines for the protection of public health, stating “a community has the right to protect itself against an epidemic of disease which threatens the safety of its members”. Justice Harlan’s decision, however, did not completely prevent further discussion. He ended his opinion by stating the limitations of his ruling:

“We are not inclined to hold that the statute establishes the absolute rule that an adult must be vaccinated if it be apparent or can be shown with reasonable certainty that he is not at the time a fit subject for vaccination or that vaccination, by reason of his then condition, would seriously impair his health or probably cause his death.”  

In conclusion, state mandated vaccines were deemed legal and Constitutional, but the option of requesting an exemption to those mandated vaccines was put into place.

Since then, each state has put laws into place requiring children to receive certain vaccines before beginning school or public day care. The goal of these laws is to protect children and communities from contagious disease. Still, per the 1905 Supreme Court decision, parents may opt out of one or more vaccines for personal, religious or medical reasons. Vaccine exemption laws vary from state to state, and each state has specific protocols to follow and documents to submit for consideration.

GET VACCINE EXEMPTION HELP

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TYPES OF VACCINE EXEMPTIONS

In Ohio, there are three types of vaccine exemptions: philosophical, religious, and medical.

Philosophical Exemptions are the least common exemption to be granted. A philosophical exemption essentially involves a personal belief against getting vaccinated. This does not include spiritual or religious beliefs. Ohio is one of only 15 states that allows for a personal belief exemption. However, Ohio law also gives schools and businesses full discretion to honor the exemption request or not.

To receive a philosophical exemption, an applicant is typically required to fill out a form. On this form, the applicant must list specific objections they have to the immunization and/or immunization schedule. The applicant is also required to acknowledge that participation restrictions may be placed on them as a result of the exemption.

Religious Exemptions are another way to avoid mandated immunization and are referenced in Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII states that employers and educational institutions must make “reasonable accommodations for an employee’s ‘sincerely held’ religious beliefs if doing so does not impose ‘undue hardship’ on the employer.” It is noteworthy that this exemption protects sincerely held religious beliefs, not specific observances or practices. An experienced vaccine exemption attorney can help you write a request for a religious exemption, increasing your chances that it will be approved.

Medical Exemptions are the most common exemption to be granted. All 50 states allow a parent to appeal for a medical exemption from the required immunization schedule based on a child’s medical condition. Accepted reasons for requesting a medical exemption include:

  • The child has a disease or takes medicine that weakens their immune system

  • The child has a severe allergy to a vaccine or an ingredient found in it

  • The child has had a serious reaction to a vaccine in the past

The medical exemption request must be signed by the child’s pediatrician, it must state a specific medical reason for the request, and it must be supported by verifiable medical documentation.

HOW TO APPLY FOR A VACCINE EXEMPTION

To receive a vaccine exemption, the first step is to contact the school or business that has the vaccine mandate. They will likely be able to provide you with any forms that need to be completed. Each business, school, or organization has their own specific forms that will need to be completed. These forms are most often available on their website.

If you are struggling to obtain a vaccine exemption, an experienced vaccine attorney can help you. Here at the Law Offices of DuPont & Blumenstiel, we promise to protect your rights and fight for you. Our staff can provide assistance with vaccine exemption requests and increase the odds that your request will be accepted.

Call us today at 614-389-9711.